Creating Calm at Home

…can feel like a pipe dream some days. Today I am sharing 5 tips for Creating Calm at home specifically for families with children.

As always, on this page I look through the lens of ADHD. I like to consider the potential circumstances of a parent with ADHD, a child with ADHD, or both at once in every family strategy or suggestion I put out on this page. The beautiful thing though, is that these strategies work for all families, ADHD doesn’t have to be part of your story for these to be supportive in your home.

The most important piece though is to read through these tips and choose one to focus on at a time. I never recommend a life overhaul especially if life is feeling overwhelming and chaotic. Pick an area, focus your energy on it for a couple of weeks and then check in before adding something new.

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Create a Family Calendar

Having a large visual monthly calendar that is easily accessible to everyone in the family can be a valuable tool for staying organized and on top of activities and events. By placing all of the family’s activities and events on the calendar, as well as in each person’s personal calendar, everyone can stay informed and on the same page. This can also help with reducing confusion and miscommunication. Additionally, using the calendar to answer children’s questions about when things are happening can support their independence and working memory.

Incorporating meal choices and grocery shopping days onto the calendar can also provide a helpful framework for food planning, preparation, and managing expectations. This can be particularly beneficial for families who struggle with meal planning and grocery shopping. By having a clear visual representation of meal choices and grocery shopping days, everyone can stay informed and prepared, reducing stress and increasing efficiency. Overall, a large visual monthly calendar can provide a simple yet effective solution for staying organized and on top of activities, events, and daily tasks.

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Create a Rhythm and Expectations Around Helping Tasks

Establishing a rhythm and clear expectations around household chores can be an important step in helping children with ADHD become more involved and responsible around the house. By making these expectations clear, manageable, and predictable, it can set the stage for sustained success and provide structure for children with ADHD who may struggle with organization and attention to detail.

One approach to creating this structure is through the use of a list or chart that outlines the tasks that need to be completed and the expected timing for completing them. This helps everyone know what is expected of them and when, reducing confusion and miscommunication. When creating the list or chart, it is important to consider the child’s capabilities and what time of day is most appropriate for each task. For example, children with ADHD may need recovery or downtime after school and may face resistance to completing chores during this time. In these cases, weekend chores may be a more appropriate and less stressful option.
It is also important to be flexible and adjust the schedule as needed to accommodate the child’s needs and capabilities. Providing positive reinforcement and recognition for completed tasks can also help motivate children and foster a sense of responsibility and ownership. By creating a clear rhythm and expectations around household chores, parents and children can work together to establish a sense of routine and stability that can benefit the entire family.

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Create Clear Boundaries and Expectations Before Challenging Behaviour Occurs

Creating clear boundaries and expectations before challenging behavior occurs can be an effective way to reduce the likelihood of intense emotions and challenging moments in families with children who have ADHD. This proactive approach can help prevent the type of collision that often occurs when children and parents have different expectations, which can lead to intense emotions and behaviors.

When setting boundaries and expectations, it is important to consider what is realistic and manageable for the parent. This can help ensure that the boundaries and expectations are achievable and maintainable, reducing the likelihood of frustration or disappointment. Additionally, involving children in the process of setting boundaries and expectations can help foster a sense of ownership and responsibility, and can also help ensure that the expectations are realistic and appropriate for the child.

Effective communication is key in this process. By calmly and clearly communicating expectations and boundaries before challenging behavior occurs, parents can help prevent misunderstandings and reduce the likelihood of conflict. This can also help set a positive tone for interactions and can create a sense of structure and stability for the child.

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Create Simple Organization Systems

A challenge facing many households navigating one or more ADHD diagnoses is maintaining order and keeping clutter at bay while also ensuring important items are easily accessible. To overcome this, it’s essential to consider simplicity when designing an organizational system. Complex systems with many steps can be overwhelming, so I recommend keeping thinks simple and easily accessible.

Additionally, it’s crucial to keep in mind the preferences of those who will use the system, as well as any developmental readiness of children who will be required to maintain it.

For instance, a system that is visually appealing may not always be the best choice, especially for individuals with ADHD. Instead, a system that is visible but easy to access, such as laundry bins out in the open instead of behind a closet door. When designing a system, it’s also essential to keep in mind that individuals with ADHD tend to do best with systems that are easily seen and don’t have obstacles, such as lids, that might impede their access to the items they need.

Try involving your children in the creation of any system that they will be expected to maintain. FInally, best systems are ones that are shared by all members of the household, so that one member (often one parent) isn’t in the heavy position of being the one that maintains it all.

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Create Space for Recharge Time for Everyone

The fast-paced and chaotic nature of life can take a toll on individuals of all ages with ADHD, and it’s essential to provide time and space to recharge and refocus. Parenting a child with
ADHD is wonderful, but it can also be challenging, taking space to consider your needs is so important. To do this effectively, it’s crucial to consider each person’s unique needs and preferences. What may be relaxing and rejuvenating for one person may not be the same for another. 

For example, some people may prefer quiet activities, such as meditation or reading, while others may regulate during more active pursuits, such as playing sports or going for a hike. Figuring out how to puzzle together a plan that supports everyone can be a challenge, but is worth it. I recommend considering this when creating the family calendar I described above.

In families with two parents, it’s also essential to create space for the relationship between the partners. This can be as simple as scheduling a post-bedtime board game date or planning a weekend getaway. Taking time to connect and strengthen the bond between partners can have a positive impact on the entire family and improve everyone’s overall well-being.

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